Merrill Lynch is helping its advisors and clients change their most basic assumptions about investing, according to Jennifer Williams, branch manager of the company’s Newport Beach, Calif., office.

“We are in an unprecedented opportunity and time,” Williams told the audience at the Women Advisors Forum today in Huntington Beach, Calif.

She summarized Merrill’s new strategy as follows:

1. Be more global. Go overseas for yield.

2. Recognize the buy and hold of yesteryear is, if not completely obsolete, giving way to a more dynamic approach.

3. Look for yield with multi-national stocks through dividend-paying equities.

4. Get stability from emerging market bonds, which are more attractive today than yields on U.S. bonds.

5. Look abroad in countries Merrill would not have recommended five years ago, including Turkey, China, Malaysia and even Nigeria.

6. Use commodities for diversification.

Female business owners represent another distinct opportunity for advisors, she said.

“Women-owned enterprises produce $3 trillion annually” in the U.S., according to Williams. “If [all the women in the world] were a country, we would be the fifth-largest GDP in the world.” That, she said, “creates an unprecedented need for advice.”



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